It might not feel like fall just yet, but it’s definitely coming, and that means it’s time to get your grass ready for cold weather. Whether you’re caring for just your lawn or you’re in charge of a commercial property, you’ll need to be careful to make sure winter doesn’t wreak havoc on your grass. Here are some tips to prepare your lawn for fall so it keeps looking great through the cold months and have it in perfect shape for when spring arrives.

Prune Trees, Bushes, and Other Plants

Now is a great time to cut back trees and hedges. But be careful, because over-pruning can lead to decay and weak limbs. If you’re unsure about how much is too much, reach out to a professional.

Farmer Pruning Trees - Cool Season Grass

Adjust Mowing Height

It’s also best to get your grass as low as possible before winter hits. Mowing in the winter can be damaging to your grass, so make sure you set yourself up for success in the fall.

Mowing Grass - Cool Season Grass

Keep Your Yard Free of Leaves and Other Debris

It can be tempting to let the beautiful fall leaves build up in your yard. Does anyone actually like raking, anyway? But we urge you not to do that! Keeping your yard free of leaves, limbs, and any other debris will make for a much healthier lawn in the long run. And even though you may think you’re done weeding for the year, some weeds like crabgrass and dandelions can endure the cold weather and continue to be a nuisance.

Raking Leaves - Cool Season Grass


The fall is a good time in NC to fertilize your lawn, but you’ll want to pay special attention to the kind of fertilizer you’re getting. Nitrogen fertilizers can cause your grass to grow too early, so look for a non-nitrogen potassium fertilizer instead. It’s best to apply several weeks before the first frost, so if you haven’t applied it already, you may be running out of time.

Fertilizing Lawn - Cool Season Grass

Take Care of Your Planting Beds

Don’t forget about taking care of your planting beds, even though nothing is growing in them right now. Keep them free of leaves and weeds. Use mulch towards the end of the winter to prepare for the spring. Fertilize before the first freeze, and make sure to keep the edges defined to save yourself a lot of work next season.

Gardening Tool - Cool Season Grass

Don’t Forget About Your Irrigation System

Depending on where you live, it’s possible for your irrigation system to freeze. Be aware of that and turn off the water when temperatures drop.

Sprinkler System - Cool Season Grass

Aerate to Get Rid of Thatch

Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeper and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. It can help you get rid of excess thatch buildup, which will ultimately increase the health of your grass and roots.

Lawn Aerator - Cool Season Grass

Last, but not least, try to stay on the sidewalk!

The best advice for saving your grass over the winter is to stay off it. Cars and foot traffic can be really damaging, so do your best to use walkways instead.

Cool Season Grass


Warm weather will be back before you know it, and after following these tips, you’ll already be on your way to a beautiful lawn!